The Sex Tech Industry Is Finding Stability After COVID Supply Disruptions
Resource shortages and supply chain problems are under control and interest will continue to rise, say experts.
The last year and a half have been, in a word, tumultuous for the sex tech industry.
From the mid-pandemic boom for sexbots, remote sex toys, and VR Porn, to recent rumors that supply chain disruptions may impede the distribution of some products, the market has been one to watch.
We turned to three experts in the sex tech industry to learn more about the impact COVID has had on sex tech, and to find out just how big the supply chain problem is.
We asked: How do you anticipate COVID will impact supply and demand for your products? Have you had to alter your supply chain in any way?
Piri Miller, founder and CEO of Come Play Inc, which created the Petl couples' vibrator
“When COVID-19 first hit we were getting ready to make the final prototypes with the manufacturer. It was a slow-moving catastrophe. First China shut down. Then we tried to make the prototype in our manufacturer’s California-based factory… then that shut down.
“I’d never been so scared in my life. But in the end, this is where partnering with Doc Johnson really helps, because their resiliency is our resiliency. Everything is back on track now, it’s just a little slower because of the global supply chain disruption.
“At the same time that COVID was destroying the supply chain, everyone was locked indoors with nothing but free time. We watched distributors and retail stores struggle to keep up with demand. Nobody could keep anything in stock. Everyone started spending their entertainment budgets on baking and sex toys. Sales were over 200% of normal.
“We also saw that people were buying more extreme toys. People have been experimenting in their free time, buying things they always wanted to try but didn’t feel like they could afford, when they were saving money for vacations or spending cash going out with friends.
“We expect that people will remain a little bolder about their purchases after this wave of experimentation. The more people try sex toys, the less stigma and fear they feel about using them.”
Soumyadip Rakshit, co-founder and CEO of MysteryVibe
“Sexual wellness products have experienced a significant and consistent uplift since the start of COVID due to lockdowns, increased isolation and focus on self-health.
“MysteryVibe has witnessed the same effect with sales growing by more than 150% between 2019 and 2020 and the trend continuing this year. We envisage this will continue and grow even faster in the coming years as more people discover the health and wellness benefits of sex tech and accessing them becomes easier and less taboo.
“On the supply side, it’s been challenging due to the worldwide component shortage that is affecting all products which use electronic chips. However, with careful forward planning, and balancing marketing spend versus available stock, we have been able to stay on top of this and deliver all our orders on time. We are optimistic that the component shortage issue will be resolved next year.
“On the supply chain side, since the lead times for a lot of the components got significantly longer over the past 18 months, we have had to source them from different and multiple distributors. We have also had to raise more funds to order higher quantities further ahead in time. All of these combined helped us stay ahead in terms of keeping production on track and making sure all our deliveries happen as planned.”
Viktoriia Zhyliak, spokesperson for Kiiroo
“Covid has been good for business as many people have been separated from their loved ones for an extended period of time. In terms of supply we had a struggle at first due to the long lead times to create our products. Now that we are 1.5 years into the pandemic, we have been able to readjust our supply based on the initial spike in sales we had in April 2020.”
Image source: Gwen Mamanoleas